Sunday, June 26, 2011

Discography: Dark Tranquillity

Dark Tranquillity was the first melodeath band I discovered. My initial discovery of the band was due to a review of Projector I found in an issue of Metal Hammer. I was intrigued by what I had read and eventually found an album by the band in the same place I found the magazine, oddly enough the University Bookstore. That album was Skydancer, and I was hooked.

Dark Tranquillity's debut album finds the band in a much different sound than their later material. The sound is a little more open, less dense, and more ethereal. The band relied a lot on tremolo riffs at the time, which were played quickly and formed the major melodies of the band. The other obvious difference was that Anders Friden was the singer on this material. His higher pitched vocals form a stark contrast to the later works with Mikael Stanne.

Yes it's an EP, but it is still very important in Dark Tranquillity's discography. For one, it is the first recording with Mikael Stanne on vocals. For a second reason, it is often included along with the Skydancer album. The music was much the same as on the prior album, but it was darker. DT even re-recorded "Alone" for the album.

Dark Tranquillity's landmark album and one of the greatest melodeath albums ever. This was the album on which Dark Tranquillity really discovered their sound, a more distorted and darker version of their earlier material. Dark Tranquillity was also able to fully realize their ability to write tighter and punchier songs that were still just as infectious as that of their earlier stuff.

I will be honest. I have not heard this one, so I cannot really comment on it.

This album found the band experimenting a little bit more than their much more straightforward earlier material. Dark Tranquillity began using some more electronic elements and keyboard work. Mikael Stanne also started experimenting with some haunting clean vocals. His work was quite impressive, particularly on the slower tracks. This is the most diverse Dark Tranquillity album in my opinion.

On this release, Stanne for the most part abandoned the clean vocal style. A little bit disappointing in my view personally, but the music remained basically the same. Experimentation with keyboards and electronic elements continued and would be a major part of the band's sound from this point on. This was actually the second album I heard from the band, and despite my initial disappointment due to the differences from their debut, I eventually grew to love it just as much.

For the most part, the band's 2002 album was virtually identical to their prior album. Dark Tranquillity had settled on a new sound that was characterized less by tremolo riffing style and more by an atmospheric and heavy version of the style of riffing the band once made popular. Keyboards were heavily prevalent and Stanne's vocal style was for the most part a deep guttural roar.

Another landmark album for the band and often considered their greatest album of their newer sound. The songs were catchy and aggressive and retained the sound that Dark Tranquillity had been working to perfect for the last several albums. This version of Dark Tranquillity bears little resemblance to that of The Gallery other than Stanne's vocals, but was great in its own way.

This is the first Dark Tranquillity album that I remember not being blown away by or eventually learning to love. The sound is basically the same as their prior album, but it does not add anything new or different and it does not improve at all on anything from earlier. It is just sort of there. Dark Tranquillity was spinning their wheels on this one unfortunately.

And unfortunately, the band did not improve on this release either. The band sounds tired and none of the songs really stand out. It's time for something new for the band or they will continue to go down the same route as countrymen and fellow melodeath bands Soilwork and In Flames. I hope they figure it out soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment